Bringing Specialty Finishing In-House

Where do you start?

Most people who offer specialty finishing are outsourcing it.

But if you’re outsourcing it, chances also are that you’re missing out on a huge profit opportunity.

And by specialty finishing, I mean pretty much anything besides the commoditized print on paper and gloss/matte laminate or UV coating.

Far too many people think that you need a big, fancy machine before you can bring print embellishment in-house. But depending on the size of your shop, a small investment in a low-volume embellishing machine might be all you need.

And that can look like an entry-level machine for as little as $5,000, or one of our more popular options, such as the Podtopic around $23,000. In fact, we've seen many clients grow their specialty finishing business to the point of needing an industrial machine such as the Bagel laminators, to keep up with demand!

But for starters, keep in mind that the machine you choose should be able to laminate as well as apply SLEEKpro finishes, another embellishment option that we highly recommend.

So, machines aside, let's look at the rest of the picture.

Moving paper back and forth adds up! And courier costs are more than just the money. There's the increased lead time to think about too. By keeping embellishment in-house, you save on both those things, without adding to your turn time in a lot of instances.

There's a common misconception about turn time with some embellishment options. For most jobs initially, all you're doing is using a specialty laminate instead of the generic gloss or matte laminate or UV coating. And if the customer wants digital foil, the cost savings for them far outweigh the slightly longer turn time.

And because it's all happening right under your roof, you’re in complete control of the entire process. You're not depending on someone else's production schedule, material availability, or their hazy idea of "quality control". You're in charge, and you call the shots.

And with that, comes the responsibility of setting your price.

An understanding of how much value specialty finishing truly adds for the print customer will be very helpful here. Move the customer conversation away from cost per printed piece and focus on what they budget to make each project successful.

A cost-plus estimating process is a race to the bottom. No one wins.

But keep this in mind, though. A relatively inexpensive process may only add 10-20% cost to the printed piece but increase its retail value by as much as 800%.

That's the potential that embellished print holds! And by keeping it in-house, you're in charge of that entire conversation, and ultimately get to pocket the extra profit!

Cheers! You earned it!

But it doesn't stop there. Besides upselling current accounts, don't forget to revisit old accounts or opportunities that you may have lost because you were too expensive, had too long a lead time, or they simply wanted a one-stop-shop for their printing needs. (To be fair, who can blame them? It's great when you can get everything you need in one place!)

Plus, print customers aren't just looking for a printer who sells print. They want a print provider who turns their ideas into reality and delivers a tangible product.

So, the more value you can add, the more of their business you'll be able to capture and keep under your roof, watch your profits add up, and increase the possibility of opening doors to new markets.

Happy print embellishing!

How Paper Thickness Affects Lamination
This might help explain wrinkled or curled output